Super hero parody has become so popular and dense that it’s practically its own genre. While comics, movies and television are rife with them, one stands out above the rest, The Tick. Originally a comic character from the 80s, the Tick eventually found his way to Saturday mornings on Fox, becoming one of the most popular shows for both kids and adults. Spoon!
The Tick is a giant, nigh invincible man in a blue suit who spends his day protecting The City, along with his sidekick, Arthur. The two cross paths with some of the zaniest supervillians like Chairface Chippendale or The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight while working with some of the best the heroes The City is home too. American Maid, Die Fledermaus, and Sea Urchin are only a few of the myriad of heroes.
If there’s any cartoon that holds up today, it’s The Tick. The constant wit on display was amazing. Jokes ranged in all manner of size, such as Chairface Chippendale’s attempt to carve his name on the moon with a laser, managing ‘CHA’ before being thwarted. That ‘CHA’ was present for the rest of the series. Or the nightclub for superheroes that doesn’t allow sidekicks in, offering a pathetic lounge for them akin to a doctor’s office waiting room. Part of what made the show appealing to adults, like in all animation, were the jokes that went over kid’s heads; “This looks like a job for Bi-Polar Bear! But I just don’t feel like it.”
The talent working on the show is just as interesting as the show itself. The Tick was created in comic form by Ben Edlund who would go on to write for Supernatural for 7 season, writing some of the funniest episodes of the show. Christopher McCulloch, who wrote several issues of the comic also wrote for The Tick, though you may know him better as his pseudonym Jackson Publick, one of the creators of The Venture Bros. Townsend Coleman voiced the Tick (Michelangelo on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987), with Micky Dolenz (Drum/Singer for the Monkees) as Arthur for the first season, Cam Clarke (Leonardo on TMNT 1987) voiced Die Fledermaus, and Rob Paulsen (Raphael on TMNT 1987) taking over Arthur. The supporting cast is a who’s who of voice acting; Jim Cummings, Dan Castellaneta, Mark Hamill, and Tony freaking Jay to name a few.
The Tick, despite not having firm grip in any medium, has had quite the staying power. While there is the aforementioned comic and cartoon, there is a Super Nintendo / Genesis game based on the cartoon, along with the typical toy/t-shirt/pog merchandising. However, the finest curiosity is the live-action series. In 2001, The Tick was turned into a live action show, airing on Fox. Sadly, due to it’s prime time slot, it was quickly cancelled. The Tick was played by Patrick Warburton, wearing a giant blue rubber suit that I have no doubt caused him to constantly perspire. Sidenote: This is how McCulloch met Warburton, leading to his role as Brock Samson on The Venture Bros. Also, there’s reports that Amazon is reviving the show with Warburton set to reprise his role as The Tick.
The Tick has earned it’s place among the pantheon of Saturday morning cartoons alongside the greats like Duck Tales, Batman: The Animated Series, and The Real Ghostbusters. If there was ever a show that deserves to be watched, it’s this. This is required homework for all comic fans.
Who was your favorite Tick character? Would you watch the new live action series? Comment below!
In addition to THN’s Saturday Morning Cartoons and Nerd at the Movies, Tony writes for his own site, thecredhulk.com, about comics, video games, movies, TV and more, six days a week. You can follow his updates on Facebook or Twitter. Drop by and tell ‘em hi.